Recovering from Disaster – special problems of an elderly population

Elderly Couple Sitting Beneath Sakura Tree in ...

Japan’s Earthquake and the Hazards of an Aging Population; The Atlantic, March 23, 2011. Devastation in the Japanese countryside exposes a looming demographic crisis

Much as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina highlighted ugly realities in American society, the recent earthquake has uncovered a troubling side of Japan’s national life: the vulnerability of its poor, neglected, and increasingly elderly rural countryside.

You see this in the faces of tsunami and earthquake survivors on television. About one-in-three residents in the areas of Japan worst hit by the disaster are more than 65 years old, a significantly higher ratio than the national average of 22.7 percent. Some 22 percent of Japan’s elderly are poor, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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